Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Good Tourist - An ethical traveller's guide - Lucy Popescu


Promotion by travel guides - a mysterous and magical realm with ancient temple cities and pagoda, faded grandeur of colonial architecture, dreamer's paradise, few place that remains unspoilt by mass tourism. Long history, incredible legends and diverse landscapes. Hidden archeological sites, stunning vistas, untouched beaches in the Bay of Bengal, jungles, mountain-hiking, golf courses liad by he British, hot air balloon over the ancient city of Bagan.

Befoe 1885 - known as Myanmar in Burmese
1885 - British raj control, called Burma
1989 - current regime changes it to Myanmar
Internationally both names are recognised. The democracy movement prefers to use Burma

1948 U Nu became Prime Minister for 14 years. Ethnic strife.
1962 General Ne Win - military coup. Held power for next 26 years.
1988, August 8. Mass demonstrations for an elected civilian government. Economic crisis. Bloodshed.
1988, Sep. Coup. General Saw Maung installed in power.
1988. Aung San Suu Kyi, arrived home to nurse her sick mother.Joined newly formed pro-democracy party, the National League for Democracy (NLD).
1990, May 27. NLD landslide victory (80% of seats) in a general election.
2008 May, massive cyclone Irrawady delta, killing thousands

1. The Democratic Voice of Burma
2. Tourism Concern
3. The Burma Campaign UK condemsn British tour firms like Orient Express and Ultimate Travel.

Responsible tourism supports the ordinary people and helps to expose the country to outside influences.

Help the many orphanages struggling to survive. Ask to see the Buddhist monasteries and cottage industries and don't just stay in the centre of a town. Visit the outskirts to get a feel of the real Burma. Use non-state owned domestic airlines (Manadalay and Yangon Airways). Don't endanger locals (you may be watched) when you talk to them.

1996 - "Visit Myanmar Year" - military's tourism drive. Aung San Suu Kyi requested travellers to "postpone" visiting Myanmar.
2007 - saffron revolution led by Burmese monks and pro-democracy activists
protest by a huge increase in the price of oil.

Noble Caledonia - UK-based tourcompany offer luxury river cruises. Some of most dramaic and exciting riverscapes, large and varied range of cultural sites, areas far from the usual tourist track. Restored colonial paddle steamers and sleep in opulent staterooms with air cond and private bathrooms

1. Golden Earth: Travels in Burma (1952) Norman Lewis
2. Burmese Days (1934) George Orwell. comic and cruel. Imperial police in Burma in the 1920s.
3. The River of Lost Footsteps: Histories of Burma by Thant Myint-U (2007). grandson of former UN Sec General U Thant, historical context and personal view of current problems.
4. Perfect Hostage Justin Wintle (2007) of Aung San Suu Kyi
5. The Lizard Cage Karen Connelly 2007 about prison life in Myanmar.
6. Finding George Orwell in Burma (2004)
7. Inside Burma, Land of Fear John Pilger 1996 documentary films (search 'Burma').

8. Freedom from Fear (1991) and Letters from Burma (1997) Aung San Suu Kyi
9. From the land of the Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey (2002) Pascal Khoo Thwe, hill tribesman flee into the jungle, rise of military dictaship, guerilla warfare to Cambridge Univ
10. Hidden Agendas 1998 anthology John Pilger. Direct confrontational style will not appeal to all.

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